Triple Donations from AmazonSmile!

The AmazonSmile triple donation promotion starts today! Amazon is tripling the donation amount to 1.5% when customers make their first eligible purchase from March 12 – 31. This is a great opportunity to increase The Giving Circle Inc’s AmazonSmile donations by reminding your supporters to shop at

Kagoma Gate Graduation – a first!

An historical day in Kagoma Gate – first graduation EVER!  Enjoy!


l da

Posted by Mark Bertrand on Tuesday, February 6, 2018

Posted by Mark Bertrand on Tuesday, February 6, 2018


The Giving Circle Summit Clothing Forest!

We walked a long and bumpy road to the Giving Circle Summit Clothing Forest! The land is beautiful, 50 hectares = 125 acres.  The deal has been struck for a 20-year lease of the land.  We hope to have this finalized very soon.  Liam Rice will start his fundraising drive to clear the land and buy and plant the saplings.  The trees on the land will be cut during clearing and provide firewood for our schools and the extra supply will be sold –> providing sustainability the people of Uganda!


Providing emergency assistance

On arrival in Uganda, we set up a clinic in Mutai, a very poor village close to Kagoma Gate.  When Moses and I arrived the it was joy to see all the many many villagers there for help, the crowd was huge. The MOST GREAT Hope Newkirk, Sue , Caren , Elizabeth and Emmanuel were already hard at work.

I asked Hope how it was going so far and was told the very first 2 needed — 2 old women VERY ill — to go to the hospital. Hospital means their very poor families have to scrape together the funds requiring days, weeks, or never to get to the hospital. So these 2 old woman started struggling to walk back to their huts.

We have 2 cars So Moses, Kisuti and I loaded them in the cars to drive them to a hospital. One old woman was very very bad with an infection that must have started in the tooth and was now in in her ears and she could not see. They all believed clearly sepsis.

At the clinic the Dr started her on a drip strong antibiotics, and ran other tests confirming this infection is very bad and spread through her head.  In the morning Moses and I will take her to a specialist in Jinja, there is NO CT scan anywhere to be found but this doctor is amazing and had helped one of our children.  I paid for her treatment at the hospital so far but there will be more, its not a lot compared at home.

The second old woman presented with very bad back and abdominal pain. Again Elizabeth refereed her to the hospital because it was more than our clinic could handle as she found she has a hernia. At the hospital, the doctor ran many tests most came back good for an old woman he said she’s simply breaking down, BUT he confirmed she has a very bad hernia that could be strangulated.

I have prepaid for her surgery, her test and labs for today she will have surgery in 2 days.  Her surgery proved a great success and she is able to return home to her family.

Sadly, the first woman turned out to have more serious problems.  Her infections turned out to be cancer that had spread too far through her body to be survivable.  We brought her back to her home where we helped her family make her as comfortable as we can for her final days.  How we wish we could always report good news.

TGCA Teacher’s University Update!

We had 2 days of our Giving Circle Teachers University Conference Workshop on the 29th & 30th in Uganda. Yesterday started with Mark’s presentation of a vision, a plan we believe can really change the education process in the 3rd world.  Doing so for the first time in a logical, functional, and effective way for all children.  We will first begin in the Busoga region and then spread out like ripples in a pond through Uganda. After that,  Africa and the whole 3rd world!

The US and western world has tried in many ways, with good hearts, but in the wrong way.  They did this by trying to force cultures, systems, countries, teaching styles and teachers on them which are not ready or skilled enough to use these systems and curriculum.

All these attempts for so long failed, because they did not 1- start at the bottom, and, 2- did not ask and include the Ugandans (or any 3rd world schools for that matter) what THEY need, what is the good within their curriculum and where is it lacking. We can NOT know another country better then the people of that country, never.  We have teachers in poor school in Uganda and 3rd world countries who can not spell, or read, can not teach simple math, and they are the one’s teaching the children.  This is  like a truck suck in the mud with wheels spinning, never able to move forward.

The TGC KOI KOI Teachers University:

  • will become the first Teachers University working with, not new teachers, but with the poorly educated teachers starting with the first 10 “ripple” schools.
  • most importantly, this will feature is a hybrid curriculum, a curriculum based in the Ugandan standards, blended and enhanced with the proper western US teaching tools and systems, creating the first hybrid curriculum that fits the shortfalls in the Ugandan system.
  • Mark planted this vision in Moses Wambi and Mr. Gusango Hamfrey last June and then he sat back and watched the seed start to germinate and over the last months.  They starting to form the base for this University.  This conference features some of the most dedicated, educational leaders in Uganda who all (thank goodness) agree and are so excited believing in this system.
  • This is a seed that was planted and like any seed, it takes time to grow.  The MOST important thing is this is organic. This will be lead by the Ugandans with support and not us forcing what we think is right.
  • For the first 5,  the school will be conducted at our Busoga school during school vacations and when students are gone.  They will sleep in the boarding rooms and eat from our kitchen. These poor, undereducated teachers in early education, baby school and primary school will come from our first 10 “ripple” team schools. They will also attend for free and their advanced degree will come only at the cost of staying and teaching at the poorer school to lift the children.
  • these, now better-advanced, educated teachers will now read well, spell well, understand math and will have the tools to teach it correctly to the children.
  • we will include a more advanced science system now seen in Uganda but one of the teachers can understand and teach to the children. Also included are Chess, Sign Language, programs for disabled and special needs children,  Scrabble, Lourds Lane Superyou program of self-belief and more!

The goal is an early education system which will be sent to the baby school classes children which is far advanced,  already understanding letters, numbers etc and from the baby school system will advance children to primary school already reading and skills far advanced from what is the norm today. This will enable the children to be ready for P7 national exams and the candidates WILL pass their tests at the highest 1 and 2 levels.

This places these children in better high schools already ahead of other students. From this, students will graduate high school national test scores with more and more students eligible to attend college.

A seed is planted in the ground not in the air. For this we need to start with the primary teachers, we need this seed to be organic and watered and cared for by the Ugandans with some help from us.  Not like in the past where money is thrown at systems blindly or wasted on programs too advanced or not fitting.

In time, this seed will become a mighty tree with endless fruit.

We will post on our web site soon the presentation given at this conference and our plan. From the plan, the Ugandans are in break out groups starting to construct this school, THEIR school and future.

Mark will come home with their work to start working on our part:  building the US-side of this hybrid curriculum. We will be seeking teachers and friends to help and make presentations to foundations, writing grants and looking for a foundation and US college that will be our partner. The cost of this program will be pennies compared to how it was attempted in the past.

In 5 years we hope to start our own stand-alone TGC KOI KOI Teachers University teaching new and existing teachers this new hybrid curriculum.  This will “ripple” through the 3rd world, making each program organic and they lead the development of their hybrid curriculum.

Whatever your belief system is, we are the children of one source and all brothers and sisters, all family who should treat everyone as you wish to be treated.

National exam scores are in!


Here they are, the test results for our Busoga and Kagoma Gate schools!

We have such pride in all our students, and of course, the dedicated teachers and our leadership team.   Most importantly,  Moses Wambi, this man who’s life is dedicated to education.  Before we met Moses, he had dreams of bigger things for his country.  Since we met, we have spent so, so many hours, walked so many miles, talking, planning, building a vision, and setting goals.  The dreams are starting to come true, thanks very hard work!  Daring to dream and then work to make that dream a plan.   This is just a start, the next step will come with the TGCA Teachers University Conference where the building of a system that will ripple through Uganda, and then Africa, and to 3rd world.

NO one would believe the children from Kagoma Gate would ever see a school. NO one but us believed we would see children graduate.

Thanks to so many of you, they may say we are dreamers but we’re not the only ones.  As they say in Uganda Long Live The Giving Circle!